Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CBS's 'Criminal Minds' faces potential departure of two lead actresses

According to most insiders and bloggers, CBS's long-running police procedural Criminal Minds faces a certain renewal due to strong ratings, however recent reports state that the show could potentially lose two of its lead actors (and only main female actors) due to a contract dispute.

Fan-beloved characters Penelope Garcia (played by Kirsten Vangsness) and Jennifer "JJ" Jureau (A.J. Cook) may be departing from the show due to reported pay dispute. While their male counterparts Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, and Shemar Moore are finalizing their contracts with the show and Matthew Gray Gubler has already signed on, Vangsness and Jureau have declined "final offers" from CBS to renew their contracts. According to Deadline, the two actresses are reportedly refusing to accept the offers because they would only receive half the amount of money that the male leads receive. As a result, CBS and the producers of the show have been slammed by the media and fans for being "sexist".

This won't mark the first time that the show has apparently neglected its actresses. During season six, Cook was fired from the show, before being re-hired later in the season due to fan complaints and declining ratings. Rachel Nichols, who played Ashley Seaver, was hired as Cook's replacement, however was fired after the sixth season when Cook was asked to return. Also during season six, character Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) was "killed off", however returned for season seven, but did not return for season eight.

As of yet, Gubler, who plays Spencer Reid, is the only confirmed actor to return for the ninth season. Gibson and Mantegna are both close to signing on, while Moore is still in negotiations as he wasn't happy with the first offer.

No word yet on if Vangness and Jureau have been offered re-worked deals, however Examiner.com reports that the deadline for the renewal of the actors' contracts was May 6. Filming for the eighth and current season wrapped on April 27, 2013, with the season finale set to air on May 22, 2013. CBS will hold their Upfront conference in New York next week, where the show's and actors' fate will be confirmed.

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